Saudis spent $62+billion last year on armaments. Yemeni Houthis just attacked with $15K drones.

Half Saudi Arabia’s oil production shut down. 5% of global oil supply.

❝ Yemen’s Houthi rebels launched drone attacks on key Saudi oil facilities on Saturday, setting off blazes that could be seen from space and showcasing how cheap new technologies allow even minor militant groups to inflict serious damage on major powers…

It was not clear how badly damaged the facilities were, but shutting them down for more than a few days would disrupt world oil supplies. Between them, the two centers can process 8.45 million barrels of crude oil a day, amounting to the vast majority of the production in Saudi Arabia, which produces almost one-tenth of the world’s crude oil…

❝ The difference in resources available to the attacker and the victim could hardly have been greater, illustrating how David-and-Goliath style attacks using cheap drones are adding a new layer of volatility to the Middle East.

Such attacks not only damage vital economic infrastructure, they increase security costs and spread fear — yet they are remarkably cheap. The drones used in Saturday’s attack may have cost $15,000 or less to build, said Wim Zwijnenburg, a senior researcher on drones at PAX, a Dutch peace organization.

The Global Military-Industrial Complex still hasn’t learned crap about guerrilla warfare. Sure, the Pentagon and their peers know how to spend taxpayer dollars by the bucketload. They’re mostly backed up by political hacks who still think the best solution to civilized inequity is to resolve disquiet and resentment with weapons ranging from bullets to bombs. Nothing cheap of course. No self-respecting graduate of West Point would be found killing significant populations without delivery systems costing million$.

RTFA. Maximum cost per each of these drones was about $15,000. A third of the price of the average new pickup truck bought in the GOUSA.

Absolutely the toughest marching drummers ever

Most folks don’t know that an early part of the years I spent as a musician were my high school years – especially in marching bands. Though I also played in the horn section of a University concert band at the same time, I played simultaneously in two separate high school marching bands. One played all their football games on Friday nights. The other on Saturday afternoons. Conflict between the two only came up once a season. Plus I still helped out once in a while with the P.A.L. band I’d marched with since 7th grade. 🙂

All I can say is these folks really rock. Close to traditional formation staging; but, everything else is over the top.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

“Game of Thrones” — Starbucks joins the legendary tale

❝ From all of the bizarre things we’ve seen on Game of Thrones—from an undead dragon to the warlocks of Qarth—a disposable coffee cup probably takes the cake.

❝ In last night’s episode, fans spotted the cup on the table of the great hall of Winterfell as the surviving army celebrated their victory against the battle against the undead. While the cast ate from wooden bowls and swigged from goblets (except for Tormund, who chugged his drink from a horn), the coffee cup was definitely out of place.

HARPER’S BAZAAR has one of the better collections of fan comments about the screw-up. And the updated version of their article reveals that the scene has now been edited and the paper coffee cup has now vanished.

World’s largest plane 1st take-off!

❝ On Saturday morning, April 13th, exactly 45 minutes after the sun began to rise over the Mojave Desert, the largest airplane ever created—and its record-breaking 385-foot wingspan—took off for the very first time. The aircraft, from the company Stratolaunch, has been eight years in the making. By 2022, the company hopes to use the twin-fuselage, six-engined, catamaran-style aircraft to launch satellite-bearing rockets into space…

<blockquote❝ "All of you have been very patient and very tolerant over the years waiting for us to get this big bird off the ground, and we finally did it," Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd told reporters on a press call. The company reported the airplane hit speeds of 189mph and heights of 17,000 feet during its 150-minute test flight, before landing safely at the Mojave Air and Space Port.

"The systems on the airplane ran like a watch,” test pilot Evan Thomas told reporters.

Thank the dreams of the late Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. Founder – also – of Stratolaunch.